We often run into clients with a great many misconceptions about sunrooms. It seems there is a lot of confusion about the design and construction of a sunroom and what features result in the best performance of the room. The following three questions illustrate some of the important topics.
1. Won’t floor to ceiling windows look the best and perform the best? Floor to ceiling windows usually create more problems than you think. Since they are substantially larger than normal windows they cost more, and by their nature eliminate the “kneewall” underneath the window. This wall serves multiple purposes, including as a space to run electrical wiring and insulation. Any window that is closer than 18″ to the floor needs tempered glass to meet building codes, and this adds even more cost. Generally furniture doesn’t fit well with floor to ceiling windows, and pets may damage the window by scratching it.
2. Should I insulate the ceiling to help keep the heat in? Unless insulation is installed in the full room including floor, ceiling, and walls the value of the insulation is drastically reduced. If the room is used at all in cold weather months it needs 100% insulation, properly installed.
3. I have seen removable windows so I can turn the room into a screen room in the summer? How do these work? Although removable windows are available they have some serious disadvantages. The first disadvantage is size and storage problems. The windows are large and hard to store, and usually there is no suitable place to store them in the room. The second disadvantage is winter air leakage, since no removable window offers the sealing ability of a double pane insulated window. In almost every case the removable windows make the room colder in the winter, and create more problems than they solve. Lastly the single pane removable windows usually cost as much or in many cases more than normal double pane insulated windows with screens.